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Training ground

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  • @drcongo said:

    @DevC said:
    That we dont know @drcongo . Looks like Johnson is about to ditch green belt and local planning decisions and concrete over our green and pleasant land. At least his mates will make a quick buck though - perhaps one of them will pay for some more wallpaper.

    I might have mentioned it before once or twice, but in areas with a tory council "green belt" and "area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB)" have both meant nothing for a very long time. If you ever pop back to Wycombe, make sure to visit a high hill with good views. It doesn't look like you remember it.

    Be worse once Martin and Garreth are carved into chicken shit canyon

  • Oh dear. I'm sure I've read @DevC 's post a few times so left it this time. I'm not sure @NiceCarrots engages in debate so this one will hopefully die down again.
    Isn't the reason this came back around is that Couhig has his eyes on a Little Marlow site? Doesn't not owning a site with limited other uses a benefit for a move to a better site?

  • @FlyingPostman said:
    @DevC I completely agree with your analysis. The club desperately needed cash and there was only one asset to raise cash against and only one lender willing to lend. The fact that the club defaulted on the rent proves that the deal was not attractive to anyone other than fans of WWFC. The interest rate was very reasonable in the circumstances. No chance of planning for housing or industrial being granted on the land.

    I think a few people are wilfully ignoring the desperation of the situation.

    However, your last line is only the current situation. It wouldn't be impossible for land to change purpose in future.

  • @Malone said:

    @FlyingPostman said:
    @DevC I completely agree with your analysis. The club desperately needed cash and there was only one asset to raise cash against and only one lender willing to lend. The fact that the club defaulted on the rent proves that the deal was not attractive to anyone other than fans of WWFC. The interest rate was very reasonable in the circumstances. No chance of planning for housing or industrial being granted on the land.

    I think a few people are wilfully ignoring the desperation of the situation.

    However, your last line is only the current situation. It wouldn't be impossible for land to change purpose in future.

    There are certain circumstances when development of the Green Belt will be allowed.
    https://greenplanning.co.uk/our-services/town-planning/green-belt/

  • Agreed, things can always change in the future and buying Green Belt land cheap in the hope of planning permission many years in the future has always been a strategy of property developers including Mr Beeks

  • @FlyingPostman how do you know there was only one lender willing? The deal was never in the open and therefore no other parties could have been offered the chance. What was the rent? What was the interest rate? This deal was done in secret for a reason, it wasn't balanced and it certainly wasn't philanthropic.

  • Also at the last minute Mr Beeks group upped the interest rate that had been previously agreed. It stunk then, and it stinks now.

  • edited May 14

    I have been on the receiving end of a β€˜sale and leaseback’ arrangement when I became Chairman of a company that had been in difficulties and had sold its factory in such an agreement. The terms were a rent equivalent to a high single digit interest rate in perpetuity. These deals would rarely be charitable as they come about because no bank will lend the money to the business, even secured against the asset. Repairs and maintenance costs were also the responsibility of the business.

    Interestingly the person that had bought the factory was a property developer who also owned the training ground of an English professional football club (not Wycombe).

    A few years later we were able to buy the land back (for double the price, as the market value was a lot higher) but we funded that with a bank mortgage at a much more competitive rate of interest.

  • Fair enough if it's a purely hard-nosed business transaction but when a group allow themselves to be portrayed as the saviours of the club acting purely out of love for it one would expect very favourable terms.

    The lack of transparency over the whole thing stank back then and it stinks now.

  • The basics of sale and leaseback agreements are well established and pretty standard as per @Forest_Blue post above.

    If this was a commercial sale and leaseback, the buyer/lessor will assess the likelihood that the seller/leasee will survive and be able to pay the rent for the term of the lease and assess whether in the worst case that the lessee failed, could that asset be rented/sold to another party at least recovering funds advanced. So in @Forest_Blue there is likely to have been a good chance of renting the factory to someone else or indeed selling it on.

    It seems in our case that the Trust directors were unsuccessful in finding an acceptable loan or sale/leaseback from a commercial source. This is probably not surprising given the dire financial state of the lessee (it did indeed default shortly afterwards) and the problems with the land location.

    No surprise that the Trust board members saw the deal that was agreed as a good one for the club as indeed did the members of the Trust who as I recall voted in favour of the deal.

  • There was no vote

  • @DevC said:
    The basics of sale and leaseback agreements are well established and pretty standard as per @Forest_Blue post above.

    If this was a commercial sale and leaseback, the buyer/lessor will assess the likelihood that the seller/leasee will survive and be able to pay the rent for the term of the lease and assess whether in the worst case that the lessee failed, could that asset be rented/sold to another party at least recovering funds advanced. So in @Forest_Blue there is likely to have been a good chance of renting the factory to someone else or indeed selling it on.

    It seems in our case that the Trust directors were unsuccessful in finding an acceptable loan or sale/leaseback from a commercial source. This is probably not surprising given the dire financial state of the lessee (it did indeed default shortly afterwards) and the problems with the land location.

    No surprise that the Trust board members saw the deal that was agreed as a good one for the club as indeed did the members of the Trust who as I recall voted in favour of the deal.

    If you mean by a good deal that we didn’t fancy the dire consequences that they told us would be the result of a no vote then yes it was a good deal

  • My recollection @eric_plant was that there was a vote. This seems to confirm it - apparently on 10/4/2013.
    https://wycombewandererstrust.com/2015/12/training-ground-update

  • It doesn't, but never mind

  • We were told, "The TGF objective isn't, and never was, to derive unreasonable profits at the expense of the club" given this what would we assume to be a reasonable price for an asset bought for Β£350K (plus some rent) in 2013?

    Has anyone seen the signed letter confirming this?
    Does it exist?

    Has anyone seen the legal contract that was drawn up at the time of the sale?
    Does it exist?

    Given we are still a 25% shareholder perhaps the Trust directors can answer.

  • 1) Any chance of you responding to my post on page1 addressed to you @NiceCarrots . ?

    2) The trust board members, who we elected to do this on our behalf, had access to the sale and leaseback contract drawn up at the time. As I recall the buyback clause was clearly defined at the time and known by all. This contract lapsed when the football club and FALL defaulted on the contract.

    The current club directors no doubt know what is being discussed now.

  • Whilst staying out of the pros and cons of the level of goodwill vs opportunism of the training ground sale, reading the link in Devs post is a sobering reminder of where we were as a club just a few years ago.

    Back then our very existence was at threat whereas now the main concern appear to be did we/will we offer Mehmeti a longer contract and will he/won’t he sign one.

    (Can’t wait until we get back to watching football again so that we can pick up on all those debates about the β€˜quality’ of the catering in the ground though)

  • I suppose, basically, anyone offering to help us out financially at the time had us over a barrel. And they were playing the long game.

  • You could look at it that way @micra .

    Or you could look at it that a guy who had given long service to the club and been treated pretty contemptuously by the new Chairman (see last years book) still put his hand n his pocket to save the club doing the club a sweetheart deal that no commercial operator would look at.

    You say potato I say pohtato....

  • @DevC I think the point most of us are making is that before we anoint the sainthood of our former chairman we would like to know what the deal actually was. The figures banded around in terms of investment and return puts it more in the realms of loan shark than philanthropist. And there are many fans out there that on the same terms (even knowing the risk of default) that would have been in a position to match that deal or beat it with less penalties. MAYBE.
    Let's face it if it was so above board and generous why did it not make it into the public domain and why is RC so keen to ditch it?

  • The details of the deal are hardly secret @TheAndyGrahamFanClub .You can still find them on the trust website now. They were presented to and approved by the Trust members on 10/4/2013.

    Details are

    Purchase price Β£350k
    Annual rent Β£30k
    10 yr lease
    Buyback option after 5 years
    Buyback price (excl inflation) Β£400k in year 6 rising to Β£440k

    The club's financial position was so bad that it defaulted on the deal within a year.

    The Supporters trust, elected by us, had sought a better deal but failed to find one. Commercially that is not surprising. Perhaps in hindsight they could have tried crowdfunding but that was less popular then and legally that is not easy to do and I suspect there may well not have been time.

  • And what about the default payments. And how they were not paid, which handed the training ground to Beeks gang. Was there any attempt to pay them ? Why was it kept so quiet that they were not being paid ?
    If I remember rightly, it wasnt a huge amount.

  • I am not quite sure what you are asking Chas. The club or strictly speaking FALL (both run by the Trust) didn't pay the rent for a period of approx 18 months. Presumably it didn't have the cash. I imagine they were not paying lots of other people too - its what you do if you are teetering on the edge of insolvency. Its explained in the link at 9.49 above.

  • The Trust has said the group interested in buying the training ground have asked to remain anonymous as part of any deal, although they have said none of the would-be investors have any links to previous owner Steve Hayes.

    (Source 26th February 2013, Andy Carswell, Bucks Free Press)

    Two out of three of the 'anonymous' group served as directors under Mr. Hayes.

  • When are we moving to the new training ground and is Ivor set to remain as club president?

  • Was Loakes Park sold off too cheaply by Mr Beeks OBE ?

  • In the Trust meeting on Thursday, Trevor Stroud said plans for the new training ground in Little Marlow were very much "in the background" and could take "years".

    A 10 year lease has been agreed on the current training ground. The facility will have major upgrades, to both the building and the pitches, the latter having the same post-season treatment as Adams Park for the first time. Until now it has been a "field". He said the upgrades are seen as important for attracting players.

  • @Steve_Peart said:
    In the Trust meeting on Thursday, Trevor Stroud said plans for the new training ground in Little Marlow were very much "in the background" and could take "years".

    A 10 year lease has been agreed on the current training ground. The facility will have major upgrades, to both the building and the pitches, the latter having the same post-season treatment as Adams Park for the first time. Until now it has been a "field". He said the upgrades are seen as important for attracting players.

    Good update. People were wondering how we could have a "Long term" arrangement at the current place, yet still have such firm plans in Little Marlow.

    Presumably that 10 year lease has a get out clause, or otherwise the "could" take years, is a definite will take 10 years.

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